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NEWS FROM PALMYRA

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Editor's note: Elizabeth and Matt Lange, long time residents of Lake Tahoe and ardent sailors, left Lake Tahoe in 1999 and pursued their dream to sail the world. They purchased their boat, "Rubicon" a Gulfstar 43 and sailed from Vancoover B.C. to.......

This is their story :

Holiday greetings from Palmyra at the heart of the Inter Tropical Convergence Zone.  At this time of year we always remember the places we have called home.  Although we left Tahoe to go cruising in 1999 we especially think of it during the holiday season.  Our Christmas tree hunts were legendary.  Also sailing the lake in the winter months with only one other crazy soul, Jim Hildinger! 

After putting over 10,000 bluewater miles under our keel, from VictoriaB.C., all of the California coast, Mexico, Marquises, Tuamotus, Tahiti and the other Society Islands to the  Republic of Kiribati we headed to Hawaii to look for work.  On the way to Hawaii we ventured to Palmyra.  It was a serendipitous turn of fate!  We are now employed by The Nature Conservancy as caretakers of this pristine tropical paradise. Palmyra Atoll, situated at the northern end of the line Islands, is a ring of 50 emerald islets nestled among several aquamarine lagoons and encircled by 15,512 acres of shallow turquoise reefs and submerged reef.  It is located 1,052 miles southwest from Honolulu and is the only undeveloped and unpopulated atoll in the tropical Pacific.  Palmyra is truly a rainforest of the sea.  It represents the most important marine wilderness area left in the United States, supporting five times as many coral species as the Florida Keys, and three times as in Hawaii or the Caribbean. The atoll supports over a million nesting birds including the world's largest colony of red-footed boobies and the largest black noddy colony in the central Pacific. The islands are covered with coconut palms and tropical ferns. With over 125 species of stony corals present, colorful fishes abound along the coral reef that forms the atoll.  Hawksbill and Green sea turtles, giant manta rays, dolphins, sharks and Melon-head whales call this home. Everything that belongs to the ocean converges here: flora and fauna, fish and fowl, climates and currents.  In January 2001 the lagoon and surrounding waters out 12 miles from Palmyra were designated a National Wildlife Refuge by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The more we have traveled the smaller the world has become.  In the last year we have had two Windjammers visit our atoll, Emmy Newbould and Eric Wilbur aboard "Nataraja" and Karen Carreau aboard "Windswept".  We even ran into Christian and his wife from Alpine Sierra Coffee when we were hiking in Kauai this November! We still live aboard "Rubicon", our Gulfstar 43' sloop and commute into work everyday in our dingy along with the mantas and turtles. This Christmas will find us dancing beneath the palms in the sand to reggae Christmas tunes and laughing 'cause there is no snow. Wishing the warmest holiday cheer to our friends in Tahoe. 

Don't forget to shake the snow out of you main before you tack!
Matt & Elizabeth Lange
s/v Rubicon
Palmyra Atoll

To better describe our life on Palmyra we have attached a few photos